Child murder by parents and evolutionary psychology

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2012 Dec;35(4):781-95. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Oct 5.


This article explores the contribution of evolutionary theory to the understanding of causation and motive in filicide cases and also reviews special issues in the forensic evaluation of alleged perpetrators of filicide. Evolutionary social psychology seeks to understand the context in which our brains evolved, to understand human behaviors. The authors propose evolutionary theory as a framework theory to meaningfully appreciate research about filicide. Using evolutionary psychology as a theoretical lens, this article reviews the research on filicide over the past 40 years, and describes epidemiologic and typologic studies of filicide, and theoretical analyses from a range of disciplines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Forensic Psychiatry / methods*
  • Homicide / classification
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infanticide / classification
  • Infanticide / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Infanticide / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Motivation
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychological Theory